Remastering Toscha

 News  Comments Off on Remastering Toscha
Jan 292023

“It is simply amazing that someone with Tosha Seidel’s enormous talent should have died at the age of sixty-three in complete obscurity after a career that took him all over the world starting at the age of sixteen. Fortunately, this Parnassus release begins to address the neglect the Ukrainian Jewish virtuoso has endured for such a long time.” — Rafael de Acha, All About the Arts

“The lack of [Toscha Seidel’s] recordings in the catalogue is simply baffling and that’s where this succinct 79-minute selection comes in handy. The recordings date from 1918 to 1929 with the exception of the 1945 Chausson. They reveal his vibrant tone and sensual aura as well as his communicative slides (in Achron’s Hebrew Melody). His Kreisler is manly, irreproachably self-confident and oozes tonal lustre and allure, elastically phrased (Schön Rosmarin), vibrantly vibrated and fulsome, with gorgeous double stops (Ave Maria). These are electrically recorded and amongst the best sounding Seidel recordings, revealing the full panoply of his variegated tonal resources. Thereafter there is a long series of predominantly acoustic discs. … If you need a standout piece, amongst many standouts, try Mischa Elman’s arrangement of Ständchen where Seidel’s lustrous, singing tone is under perfect control and beautifully equalized throughout the scale; one of the great violin records. But so many Seidel records are like that; memorable, beautiful and unique in depth of tonal beauty. … This disc fulfils a necessary gap admirably, restoring Seidel’s recordings – but by no means all his recordings – in fine style.” – Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb

Leslie Gerber’s enterprising Parnassus Records already was among my favorite historic reissue labels well before Leslie teamed up with my friends at Alto Distribution to make his recordings more easily obtainable. When they approached us about the possibility of doing some audio restoration work involving recording of the great Toscha Seidel, we immediately agreed to undertake the work.

We were fortunate to collaborate with veteran collector Raymond Glaspole, who transferred a number of Seidel 78s (from his own collection, in excellent condition) to digital format; the remaining sources were transferred at Urlicht AudioVisual, on loan from other collectors. The electrical studio recordings needed little  work, but some of the acoustic 78s presented challenges, yet yielded better results than we had anticipated, with a much lower noise level that sacrifices none of Seidel’s signature tone. Though Chausson’s Poème derives from a broadcast transcription with somewhat limited frequency response and distant orchestral miking, the result of restoration reveals a passionate performance with two artists at their expressive finest.

Toscha Seidel – Rare and Newly Remastered” is available now. You can find links for streaming and CD purchase here.